The Chicago Bears are in the midst of one of the most important offseasons in the team’s history. The Bears currently hold the No. 1 pick in the draft and are sitting on nearly $100 million in cap space.
Cornerback Jaylon Johnson is confident that some of that cap space has been earmarked for his contract extension.
“That’s what I’ve always wanted to do is get my second contract after my third season with the Bears,” he told NBC Sports on February 8 during an appearance on Radio Row at the Super Bowl. “There’s definitely been some talks. But I feel like it will heat up in due time after the free agency wave, the draft and things like that. We’ll just see where it goes.”
The Chicago Bears’ Future Is Now
Johnson, a third-year cornerback, has been one of the team’s most consistent players in the secondary, and he said he believed he’s part of the Bears’ future.
“I feel like we got a lot of very good core pieces,” Johnson said. “Now we have opportunities to get guys who support that. You mention the money, the picks. I feel like even the picks we had, our last rookie class was a really good rookie class. I feel like we definitely have the pieces to keep building and moving in the right direction. It’s just on us as leaders to keep the culture, keep building the culture to what we want it to be and just find a way, find a formula to win ball games.”
Originally a second-round pick out of Utah in the 2020 draft, Johnson has appeared in 39 games, racking up 125 tackles and 31 passes defended. He said he was focused on improving his game headed into Year 4.
“I’m trying to figure out the best way to maximize my body,” Johnson said. “I feel like my game is my game. At the end of the day, I’m a lockdown guy. I’m not too concerned or trying to find a way to make interceptions. Definitely want to make the ones that come, but trying to find a way to weed some passes out. But at the end of the day, I am who I am. I don’t plan on changing my game. There’s not anything I feel like I can’t do. Just sharpening my tools like I always do every offseason. Just attacking and wanting to dominate.”
A Perfect Match
Staying in Chicago could prove beneficial to Johnson’s development. Newly hired cornerbacks coach Jon Hoke is known for his ability to develop corners. During his first stint in Chicago, Hoke was largely responsible for the success and development of star corners Tim Jennings and Charles Tillman. In a February 3 story by Tribune News Service’s Brad Biggs, Tillman addressed Hoke’s impact on him.
“Without a doubt my career definitely took off,” Jennings said, according to Biggs. “I was able to take my play to another level once I got to Chicago and played for Jon Hoke. He’s definitely hard on the guys, which is something I needed at the time in my career. He brings an old-school tradition to defensive football about being accountable.”